Hi-Spirits Breaks Out The Brands For London Cocktail Week

Southern Comfort hits the streets for LCW
Hi-Spirits will be celebrating the capital’s booming cocktail culture by putting some of the biggest brands in its portfolio in the spotlight during London Cocktail Week.

Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the classic Italian Fratelli Branca liqueur range will all be featured, with the cocktail cognoscenti able to enjoy a range of £6 drinks at selected bars throughout LCW, which runs from October 2 – 8.

Buffalo Trace and Fratelli Branca will be offering a programme of masterclasses during the week at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire pop-up bar, which will be located this year at the Looking Glass Cocktail Club in Shoreditch.

VIP hosts for the classes will be Drew Mayville, Buffalo Trace master blender, and Nicola Olianas, World brand ambassador for Fratelli Branca. Along with an opportunity to taste the 2017 release of the five-strong Buffalo Taste Antique Collection, there will be a special masterclass featuring cocktails made with the Antique Collection and vintage Carpano Vermouth.

Other classes will spotlight the Pappy Van Winkle bourbons from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, and the full range of premium brands from the Fratelli Branca distillery in Italy. With limited spaces available and demand expected to be high, bar trade professionals can sign up at http://www.BuffaloTrace.co.uk/BBE

The Spitalfields Market Village cocktail hub will host the Southern Quarter, celebrating the true Spirit of New Orleans. Inspired by the city’s French Quarter, the bar will be welcoming cocktail lovers with a selection of delicious Southern Comfort cocktails paired with freshly-cooked Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka will also feature in the Spitalfields Market Village, with the Tito’s Texan Mule Cart bringing a Texan twist to the classic mule cocktail. Tito’s, the Vodka for Dog People, will be supporting the Guide Dogs Foundation, giving £1 from every cocktail purchased to the charity. MASH and Off Broadway are also giving £1 from every Tito’s drink sold to the Guide Dogs, with Tito’s matching the funds raised.

Partner bars around London will be offering exclusive £6 cocktails throughout the week. Buffalo Trace will be at Vaults of Soho, Fat Bear, Benares, Four Sisters, Four Sisters Town House, Barbecoa, and Basement Sate; Tito’s Handmade Vodka will be at Mash and Off Broadway; and Southern Comfort cocktails will feature at Hoxley & Porter, Quaglinos, Bermondsey Yard Café, Salvador and Amanda, Kansas Smitty’s, Stillwater and Bobo Social.

For those looking to chill out between cocktails, Our/London Vodka is taking up residence at Blixen in Spitalfields village, offering respite as well as free coffee, snacks and WiFi access for trade wristband holders. There will also be an opportunity to try the newly launched range of Our/London Infusions.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “London is one of the world’s great cocktail cities, and we’re delighted to be featuring some of the iconic brands from our portfolio during London Cocktail Week.

“It’s especially exciting to be bringing Buffalo Trace and Fratelli Branca, two of the world’s greatest distilleries, together at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire, which will be a great opportunity for bar professionals to learn more about the heritage and skills of both.

“With cocktail sales booming in UK pubs and bars, London Cocktail Week is a great showcase for our national cocktail culture, and so we’re delighted to be right at the heart of the action again this year.”

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Hi-Spirits Shakes Up London Cocktail Week

buffalo-trace-cocktails-lcw-2016

Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Langley’s Gin will all have a high profile during London Cocktail Week 2016, with unique drinks and a diverse offer from distributor Hi-Spirits.

This year’s celebration of the capital’s thriving cocktail culture, running from 3 – 9 October, promises to be the biggest and most vibrant yet.

The Southern Comfort Chicken Stop will be popping up in Spitalfields, welcoming dedicated cocktail lovers with a selection of Southern Comfort cocktails and Southern Fried Chicken.  The New Orleans inspired pop-up will mark the first stop on the Southern Chicken Trail. Customers will be encouraged to continue on the trail and explore some of London’s best chicken shops, with Southern Comfort and Fried Chicken pairings on offer at all stops.

The acclaimed Buffalo Bourbon Empire pop-up bar also returns for 2016. Located this year at Hackney House, the Buffalo Bourbon Empire will spotlight six exclusive bourbon cocktails created by leading London venues – The Vaults of Milroy’s, Barbecoa, Basement Sate, Blessings, MASH, and Four Sisters.

Award-winning whiskeys from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky will also be on offer, including the first chance for UK aficionados to sample the 2016 release of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection whiskeys.

For those interested in learning more about the heritage and culture of bourbon, the Buffalo Bourbon Empire will host a series of masterclasses throughout the week. These include sessions with Drew Mayville, the Buffalo Trace master blender, and Nicola Olianas, global brand ambassador for Antica Formula, who will explore the classic cocktail combination of vermouth and bourbon. Tickets can be booked online at www.Buffalotrace.co.uk/bourbonempire

London Cocktail Week will also feature £5 cocktails made with Langley’s No.8 Gin, the award-winning super-premium English gin brand. The exclusive cocktails will be available at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, 214 Bermondsey, Arabica, Bermondsey Yard, Merchants House and Village East.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “London has always been one of the world’s great cocktail cities, and London Cocktail Week has reinvented the capital’s party spirit. We’re delighted that Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace and Langley’s will be at the heart of the celebrations, and as always, our team is expecting a very busy week.”

Southern Comfort Tasting Notes

Southern Comfort Cherry

Southern Comfort is a brand that everyone knows. Go to any bar and you will see it showcased with your favourite mixer or blended into a cocktail. But have you ever tried it straight? Over a couple of cubes of ice? It’s a rarity you ever hear this spirit called over a bar to be drunk neat, but for me, a spirit is created to be drunk on its own. Add anything to it means your after a longer drink. This trend is now the social norm, but Southern Comfort is one of those liqueurs that can easily start a resurgence in drinking on the rocks. Why I hear you ask? Southern Comfort is unique with its blends of spice, natural fruits and whisky flavours – and it’s been around since 1874. An old-timer to lead a comeback? Well here’s some reasons of why Southern Comfort is still considered the general from New Orleans.

Martin Wilkes Heron was born July 4th 1850 in St. Louis Missouri and made a living as a bartender. M.W. Heron was pouring drinks at McCauley’s Saloon in New Orleans when he realized his customers were after a smoother, more refined drink. So, he experimented with fruits, spices and flavors to create “Cuffs and Buttons.” M.W. Heron renamed “Cuffs and Buttons” as Southern Comfort and his creation was dubbed “The Grand Old Drink of the South” at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition. Even back then, Southern Comfort was in a category all its own and in 1889 Heron bottled Southern Comfort for the very  first time. In 1898, M.W. Heron registered his Southern Comfort trademark with the U.S. Patent Office and printed the bottle with his promise, “None Genuine But Mine,” which you can still find on every bottle today.

At the Paris World Exposition in 1900, the world took notice as Southern Comfort was awarded a Gold Medal for quality and fine taste. Four years later, the world’s first Southern Comfort cocktail was created – the St. Louis Cocktail, showcased at the World’s Fair. Unfortunately M.W. Heron died in St. Louis, Missouri in 1920 but luckily entrusted his secret recipe upon his colleague, Grant M. Peoples.

After the end of Prohibition, Southern Comfort made a comeback with its new ‘flute’ styled bottle as well as the illustration of Woodland Plantation, located along the Mississippi River near New Orleans. Hollywood beckoned in 1939 as they celebrated the release of the film “Gone with the Wind” and created the Scarlet O’Hara cocktail. With this, the international market started to take notice and the UK experienced Southern Comfort for the very first time in 1945. In 1988, sales reached 200,000 cases worldwide.

So with a rather rich history involving a gentleman with a vision, how does Southern Comfort fare? Well below i give to you my tasting notes –

Southern Comfort – 35%

A slow release of spice on the nose followed by sweetness and aromas of fresh red fruit. The sweetness carries onto the palate with the fruit becoming riper. A little spice hit near the long end.

Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry – 35%

Sweet nose with lots of cherry aromas dancing. A well-balanced texture on the palate with fresh cherry flavours being drawn out over the long offering.

Now as mentioned, Southern Comfort is great on its own, and with their experimental flavours coming out with the likes of Cherry, Lime and Fiery Pepper they have started to claim a taste that everyone can enjoy. But if you do prefer a Southern Comfort cocktail, maybe try this –

Southern Hurricane
Southern Hurricane

Southern Hurricane

Glass –

Hurricane

Ingredients –

45ml Southern Comfort
45ml Sweet and Sour Mix
45ml Orange Juice
45ml Pineapple Juice
Splash of Grenadine

Method –

Stir all ingredients together in an ice filled glass. Garnish with an orange wedge and cherry.

Easy, refreshing and delicious – on its own that is! Maybe give Southern Comfort a go over ice. Theres no harm in asking and if you think it needs a splash of lemonade or you would like to see it in a Southern Hurricane, then your bartender, or indeed you yourself at home, can easily create no trouble at all.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360 and Exchange Bar & Grill, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Liquorists Seasonal Spirits Trail

Last night was the final installment of the year in The Liquorists busy calendar, the seasonal spirits trail! Following the same concept of their Vodka trail last month, we were to be enjoying 5 different spirits, 5 different cocktails in 5 different bars accompanied by 5 different light bite appetizers. Sound daunting? Challenge accepted!

Pear & Cinnamon Martini at The Lowry

Starting the night in the 5* Lowry Hotel and The River Bar & Restaurant in Manchester’s Chapel Wharf, we gathered in the bar’s Library, a quietly tucked away part of the bar which is perfect for events like this. Barry, of Epernay fame, would be our host for the evening, and after a brief introduction, explained to us why we had a shot of Bacardi in front of us. Whilst guiding us through the history of this well know rum, Pear and Cinnamon Martini’s were handed out along with soft vanilla cheesecake.  No sooner had we finished the lychee in the bottom of the glass, we were hopping into a taxi to our next venue, Apotheca.

Southern Jam at Apotheca

Southern Comfort was the choice of spirit and one of my personal favourites dating back to my teenage years! Making our way to their basement bar with some fantastic canvases of the Manchester skyline, we enjoyed a shot of Southern Comfort with pieces of 80% dark cocoa that blended well, but became truly amazing with the cocktail ‘Southern Jam’, made with apricot jam, lemon juice, Chinese five-spice, cranberry juice and a double helping of Southern Comfort.

Long Winters Night at 24 Bar & Grill

 

 

24 Bar & Grill was the next port of call, with this stunning conversion of the previous namesake Obsidian, offering us the Dutch Ketel One Citron vodka to sip while their Christmas offering ‘Long Winters Night’ were being hand crafted for our pleasure. Lemon, cinnamon sugar syrup, cherry Cognac, Amaretto, sweet Vermouth and a dash of Bitters created a rather long and refreshing cocktail, all whilst munching on mince pies. From Barry’s homeland of Holland, to Cuba, Havana and their Barrell Proof was next to showcase themselves at Sandinista, with a Christmas classic Eggnog cocktail being served (mixed spice, cream, Havana Barrell Proof, sugar) while we munched on roasted chestnuts. All that was missing was a roaring fire! 

Eggnog at Sandinista

Our last bar for the night was in one of Manchester’s pop-up bars and venue to the winter ice-rink, The Moose Bar. The French orange liqueur Grand Marnier was sipped, while Grand Tommy cocktails were brought over to us amid pea and ham soup, ham hock terrine, pheasant and beef stew and sausage, crouton and cheese fondue. 

A great night was had, with a round of applause given to Barry by all  in attendance. And it truly was. My friend came with me last night as a fan from the last trail, and he’s now raring to go back to all 5 bars again, with The Moose Bar and Sandinista his highlights. As for me, I’m already looking forward to January as The Liquorists announced their rum trails, with bars including Keko Moku, Hula, MOJO Rhum Room, The Liars Club and Sandinista on offer! 
 
Check out The Liquorist’s website and Facebook page for more information and tickets.

Click on my Links page for links to all the bars and brands mentioned in this article

 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

24 Days of Christmas Cocktails – Day 7

One from the Bacardi Brown-Forman guys using Southern Comfort to create an after-dinner winter warmer.

Southern Comfort Hot Bramble

Day 7 – Southern Comfort Hot Bramble – Southern Comfort

Glass –

Highball (heat proof) glass

Ingredients –

25ml Southern Comfort
50ml red wine
25ml apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 Star Anise
1.5 tsps of caster sugar
dash of Angostura bitters
Method –

Heat all ingredients slowly to a gentle simmer. Serve in a heatproof glass.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick

Each day for the next 18 days their will be a different christmas cocktail added to the site, so sign yourself up to be the first to find out! Make sure you follow me on Twitter (and the hash tag #24daysofchristmascocktails) or Facebook for instant updates.

For the Southern Comfort site, click here to be directed to the links page

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Morgan’s Spiced & Coke Pre-mixed Tasting Notes

As well as being handed a can of Southern Comfort mixer (https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/southern-comfort-lemonade-lime-pre-mixer-tasting-notes/) I was also able to taste the Morgan’s Spiced offering of their pre-mixer with coke.

Morgan's Spiced & Coke Pre-Mixer

With a strength of 6.4% and my love of rum, this is a perfect mix! The aromas and smells of vanilla instantly hit your nostrils with a spice mix following closely behind. A huge vanilla hit surprises you when you first taste, with the unmistakable flavour of Morgan’s Spice coming through soon after. A slight spicy end lingers in the back of your throat but its smoothness almost soothes it to a mouth-watering effect. Granted it’s not on par with the fresh pairing of Morgan’s Spiced and Coke, and at 6.4%, you don’t seem to get a strong taste of the base spirit, but don’t let that put you off. It’s like a mask for alcohol – it’s there, you know it’s there, and after 5 of these you will be close to having a very good night!  This is a top 5 pre-mix contender!

Southern Comfort Lemonade & Lime Pre-mixer Tasting Notes

I was handed another pre-mixer a few days ago by a friend of mine after she learnt of my love for Southern Comfort. It comes mixed with lime and lemonade and at 5% I was expecting a similar experience as the Malibu & Cranberry pre-mix (https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/pre-mixed-malibu-cranberry-tasting-notes/)

Southern Comfort Lemonade & Lime Pre-mixer

Upon opening the can, no distinct aromas came out, although you may receive the obvious flavours of Southern Comfort and lime if you poured it into a glass. Tasting it though, SoCo is definitely there! If you had to do a blind tasting of pre-mixers, you’ll be kicking yourself if you got this wrong. The sweet spices and fruit hit you instantly with the lime lingering around and subtly mixing well. The low carbonated lemonade makes this a smooth beverage to have and gives that classic Southern Comfort after-taste, albeit a little dry. It’s not too strong on your senses but you don’t feel like you’ve been cheated out of anything like other pre-mixers can.

This would be great for a summer’s day drink, especially if poured into a lime rimmed glass to add some extra fresh flavour (and just look at the can! Strikingly better than the other pre-mixer can out there!).  Give it a try, I know I wouldn’t pass up on the opportunity if I saw it again.